Just two months after the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals barred prosecutors from bringing charges against teenagers for sexting, a federal judge has issued a permanent injunction barring prosecutors from filing charges against the girls in connection with this case.
In Michigan, as in Pennsylvania where this case occurred, it’s a felony to produce, possess or distribute photos of a minor.
As a result, when a teenage girl/boy sends a partially nude photo to a boyfriend/girlfriend, overzealous prosecutors have been quick to label such activity as “distribution of child pornography,” a charge with significant penalties and consequences.
The three girls in the Pennsylvania case were scantily clad in photos that were circulated by cell phones. Their pictures were discovered as part of a larger investigation into teenage sexting. Studies show that at least 15 percent of teens engage in sexting. With the proliferation of cell phones, these numbers may be much larger. As a result, states around the country have begun looking at sexting and evaluating what the proper legal consequences should be.
In fact, the Illinois’ legislature just passed a new bill lessening the penalty for sexting between minors to mandatory counseling and community service.
In Michigan, however, sexting between teens remains a felony. If convicted you could face serious penalties, including jail time and having to place your name on the sex crimes registry. Unless and until Michigan amends its child pornography laws, Michigan teens caught with nude photos of other teens may be still be charged as sex offenders.
For more information on sexting, please contact Grabel & Associates, an experienced and aggressive law firm dedicated to Michigan Sex Crimes defense.